The last time you had dinner with your family was a difficult experience. Not because of any intra-family drama (though there’s always a little bit of that). The issue was the noise, which was making it difficult to hear anything. So you didn’t hear the details about Nancy’s promotion, and you didn’t have a chance to ask about Todd’s new cat. It was irritating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t completely dismiss the possibility that perhaps your hearing is beginning to go bad.
It’s not typically advisable to attempt to self diagnose hearing loss because it generally isn’t possible. But you should keep your eye out for some early warning signs. When enough of these red flags spring up, it’s worth making an appointment to get checked by a hearing professional.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Some of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But if you happen to find yourself noticing any of the items on the following list, you just might be dealing with some degree of hearing loss.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing impairment may include:
Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to understand: People do a lot of texting these days, so you may not take as many phone calls as you once did. But if you’re having trouble understanding the phone calls you do receive (even with the volume turned all the way up), you may be facing another red flag for your hearing.
Certain sounds seem so loud that they’re unbearable. It’s one of the more uncommon early warning signs related to hearing loss, but hyperacusis is common enough that you might find yourself experiencing its symptoms. It can be an early sign of hearing loss if certain sounds seem really loud particularly if it lasts for an extended period of time.
You keep asking people to repeat themselves. If you find yourself repeatedly asking people to talk louder, repeat what they said, or slow down when they talk, this is particularly true. Often, you might not even notice how often this is occurring and you may miss this red flag.
Certain words seem harder to hear than others. When consonants become difficult to differentiate this red flag should go up. The th- and sh- sounds are very commonly muffled. It can also commonly be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
When you’re in a noisy crowded place, conversations tend to get lost. In the “family dinner” example above, this exact thing occurred and it’s certainly an early warning sign.
High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Perhaps you find your teapot has been whistling for a while and you didn’t hear it. Or perhaps the doorbell rings, and you never notice it. Early hearing loss is typically most noticeable in distinct (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
You experience some ringing in your ears: This ringing, which can also be the sound of thumping, screeching, buzzing, or other sounds, is technically named tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily associated with hearing issues, but it is frequently an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing test is most likely in order.
- Someone observes that the volume on your media devices is getting louder and louder. Maybe the volume on your phone keeps getting louder and louder. Or maybe your TV speakers are maxed out. In most cases, you’re not the one that notices the loud volume, it’s your children, maybe your neighbor, or your friends.
Next Up: Get a Exam
Regardless of how many of these early warning signs you may experience, there’s really only one way to recognize, with certainty, whether your hearing is going bad: get your hearing tested.
You might very well be experiencing some level of hearing loss even if you’re only noticing one of these early warning signs. What level of hearing impairment you might be dealing with can only be determined with a hearing evaluation. And then you’ll be better prepared to get the correct treatment.
This will make your next family get together a lot easier and more fun.
The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.